Climate change: Lesotho feels the heat

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MASERU — The Lesotho Meteorology Services (LMS) says the country must urgently come up with a policy to tackle challenges posed by the effects of climate change.

“We need to adapt to new ways of doing things as food production continues to decline. We might end up seeing people dying of starvation,” Maqhanolle Tsekoa, an official with LMS said this week.

Tsekoa was speaking during a workshop to empower local journalists on how to report about issues of climate change.

He said Basotho must make major changes in order to survive the challenges posed by climate change.

“We are highly vulnerable to climate change. We have to adapt so that we can survive the threats,” Tsekoa.

Climate experts have warned that Lesotho could enter a water stress phase of less than 1 700m3 per capita per year by 2019.

It is also expected to have water scarcity of less than 1 000m3 per capita per year by 2062.

During this period dry conditions and lower sub-surface flow would lead to dry springs and wells, lower water tables, and higher borehole costs.

Tsekoa said for a long time climate change was regarded as a complex subject that was detached from the people.

“But we now have evidence of climate change. In Lesotho we are experiencing abnormal weather and climate patterns as the rest of the globe,” he said.

“There is an increase in global temperatures, increase in rainfall in some places and decrease in some,” he said.

There was also an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme events like drought, floods and heat waves.

Lesotho has experienced extreme drought resulting in low food production in recent years.

This has seen a large number of people surviving on food handouts from international donors.

In an effort to address issues of climate change and to sensitise communities, the government in 2007 completed a National Adaptation Programme of Action.

The programme identified 11 priority areas that included promoting sustainable crop-based livelihood systems in foothills, lowlands and in the Senqu River valley.

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